George Edward Battle, Jr. is a native of Rocky Mount, NC. He received an associate’s degree from Clinton College in Rock Hill, SC, and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Livingstone College in Salisbury, NC. He holds a Master of Divinity from Hood Theological Seminary in Salisbury, NC and a Doctor of Divinity from Howard University in Washington, DC. Battle also has received honorary doctorates from Clinton College, Hood Theological Seminary (two), Livingstone College (two), the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, NC and Queens University in Charlotte, NC. Battle was elected a Bishop of the A. M. E. Zion Church in 1992, the 84th bishop in the line of succession. He presently serves the Blue Ridge, West Central North Carolina, Westen North Carolina, Jamaica (all divisions).
Battle’s ministry in the A. M. E. Zion Church began in 1966 where he served as the pastor of Mt. Vernon A. M. E. Zion Church in Fort Lawn, SC. He also served as pastor of several other South Carolina churches, including Center Grove A. M. E. Zion, Emmanuel A. M. E. Zion, Foundation A. M. E. Zion, Tabernacle A. M. E. Zion, and Mt. Zion A. M. E. Zion. In 1974, he was appointed as the pastor of Greater Gethsemane A. M. E. Zion Church in Charlotte, NC, where he served for nineteen years until he was elected to the office of Bishop.
COMMUNITY ACTIVISM AND INVOLVEMENT
Bishop Battle is a founder of the Greater (formerly Gethsemane) Enrichment Program, a not-for-profit, after school enrichment program that serves at-risk, economically disadvantaged elementary-school children in Charlotte, NC. The program has been in existence for more than forty years and has received a national award for the best program of its kind using Federal Funds and a Lights on Afterschool award from the Afterschool Alliance. He also led the effort to organize Biddleville Five Points, a lower economic, predominantly black community in West Charlotte. Under his direction, affordable housing, parks and sidewalks were built, and small businesses and extracurricular programs were created for the community’s residents.
Bishop Battle is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, the National Council of Churches and the Charlotte City Club. He is a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), one of the founders of the Urban League of Central Carolinas, a founding committee member of Teen Health Connection, a member of the Leadership Breakfast Group in Charlotte, NC, and a member of River Run Country Club.
Bishop Battle has receive more than 100 awards and honors during his outstanding career, including the Presidential Award for Outstanding Leadership by his alma mater, Livingstone College. He has been recognized as the highest alumni donor and is a three-time recipient of the National Alumni Award for Meritorious Service from Livingstone College. Battle has been recognized by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education for exemplary service and dedication and by the State Board of Community Colleges for service to the citizens of North Carolina. He received the Long Leaf Pine Award from former North Carolina Governor James Hunt, which is the highest award bestowed from the state.
Bishop Battle is the recipient of the Echo Foundation Award Against Indifference, the Razor Walker Award, the Leadership Charlotte Lifetime Achievement Award, the Whitney M. Young Service Award from the Urban League, the Black Political Caucus Hall of Fame Award, Award from the International Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the Charlotte Observer Thank You Award for years of service on the school board, the North Carolina Legion Award given by citizens of the state, the Sojourner Truth Award from the Ministers and Lay Association of the A. M. E. Zion Church, the Keeper of the Flame 44th Presidential Inauguration Award from the Balm in Gilead, the Good Scout Award of Mecklenburg County, and the Clergy of the Year Award from the National Opportunities Industrialization Center of America.
On June 8, 2014, Bishop Battle was honored with a wax figure in his likeness from the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum in Baltimore, MD., for his years of dedication in ministry. He most recently received the 2015 United Negro College Fund Legacy Award and the Charlotte Post Luminary Award.